Macedonian Women by Zora Petrović, 1952.

The painting “Macedonian Women” represents two women from the people dressed in colorful costumes, set in a monumental, as Miodrag B. Protić remarked, “to the founder’s ceremony from our frescoes.” The artist evoked the heavy glow of folklore with full color and contour of a meter and more, starting from the shoulders to the feet, gathered in the desire to evoke the dynamics and richness of the scene. Her rich palette testifies to the contempt of every pedantry and any sentimental accents. In addition to color, her composition exudes a balance of set surfaces and masses. The painting is not precisely dated, because Zora rarely signed and dated her works.

Zora Petrović’s work has often been compared to Serbian medieval frescoes (in the texts of Aleksa Čelebonović, Đorđe Popović, etc.), which she also pointed out as her role model. That connection is in fact stronger in the psychological, spiritual sense, and not in the formal-interpretive one… Besides Nadežda Petrović, she was extremely aware that she lived in “male time”, so maybe she put a female figure in the center of her work, demystified and deestheticized, free from layers of sentiment and prejudice, deprived of transient physical stimuli.

Zora Petrović studied painting at the School of Arts and Crafts, where her lecturers were Milan Milovanović, Marko Murat, Rista Vukanović. During the First World War, she studied at the Royal Hungarian School of Painting. Her professor was Deak Ebner, a conservative and naturalist. After the end of the war, she returned to Belgrade, where she finished the Art School. She stayed in Paris in 1925 (two months with Andre Lot). She was elected a full professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1951 and remained in that position until her sudden death. She died in Belgrade in 1962 and was buried in Pančevo.

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